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As It Was: Polish Immigrant Shares Food and Bicycling in Talent, Ore.

Josef Slowikowski was born in Poland and grew up in a small village near Warsaw.  At age 17 he worked in the Nazi forced labor camps until the liberation.  In 1950, Slowikowski boarded the Queen Elizabeth in England and sailed to New York City.

He loved being in America and proclaimed it his new homeland.

Slowikowski worked as a painting and building contractor in Southern California until 1973, when he, his wife, Eileen, and their four sons moved to Southern Oregon, where they opened a Polish restaurant, the Chata, popular in Talent, Ore., for 25 years.  Slowikowski loved greeting guests with enthusiasm and making them feel at home.

Slowikowski also was an enthusiastic bicycle rider. For many years in the 1980s and 1990s, he and his family hosted a bike race called Bike Chata.  The race was for all ages and covered the country roads around Talent and Phoenix where Slowikowski himself continued riding into his 80s.

After Slowikowski’s death in 2014, the Bike Chata Memorial Race was started in memory of his contributions to the city of Talent.

Sources: "Slowikowski Wawrzyniec Slowikowski." Mail Tribune, 16 Feb. 2014 [Medford, OR] , www.mailtribune.com/article/20140216/news04/302169994. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018; "Talent Grape Fair ends with memorial bike race." KOBI-TV News, KOBI-TV NBC News, 22 May 2014., https://kobi5.com › Local. Accessed 23 Mar. 2018.

Luana (Loffer) Corbin graduated from Southern Oregon College, majoring in Elementary Education.  The summer after graduation she was hired to teach at Ruch Elementary, where she taught for 32 years. After retiring, Corbin worked for Lifetouch School Photography and then returned to Ruch as an aide helping with reading instruction and at the library.  More recently, she has volunteered at South Medford High.